“Equestrianism, more often known as riding, horseback riding or horse riding refers to the skill of riding, driving, steeple-chasing or vaulting with horses. This broad description includes the use of horses for practical working purposes, transportation, recreational activities, artistic or cultural exercises, and competitive sport.
Equestrianism made its Summer Olympics debut at the 1900 Summer Olympics in Paris, France. It disappeared until 1912, but has appeared at every Summer Olympic Games since. The current Olympic equestrian disciplines are Dressage, Eventing, and Jumping. In each discipline, both individual and team medals are awarded. Women and men compete together on equal terms. Equestrian disciplines and the equestrian component of Modern Pentathlon are also the only Olympic events that involve animals. The horse is considered as much an athlete as the rider.
Dressage (“training” in French) involves the progressive training of the horse to a high level of impulsion, collection, and obedience. Competitive dressage has the goal of showing the horse carrying out, on request, the natural movements that it performs without thinking while running loose.
Show jumping comprises a timed event judged on the ability of the horse and rider to jump over a series of obstacles, in a given order and with the fewest refusals or knockdowns of portions of the obstacles.
Eventing, also called combined training, horse trials, the three-day event, the Military, or the complete test, puts together the obedience of dressage with the athletic ability of show jumping, the fitness demands the cross-country jumping phase. In the last-named, the horses jump over fixed obstacles, such as logs, stone walls, banks, ditches, and water, trying to finish the course under the “optimum time.” There was also the ‘Steeple Chase’ Phase, which is now excluded from most major competitions to bring them in line with the Olympic standard.
The International Governing Body for equestrian sports is the Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI). The 1924 Olympics were the first at which equestrian competitions were held under the authority of the FEI.” – Wikipedia
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